Tuesday, April 25, 2017
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Bald in the Land of Big Hair: A True Story. Joni Rodgers is a comedian. Portrait of Jane Austen, from the memoir by J. E. Austen-Leigh. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) But, cancer is not funny. Except, if you’ve had it. Then, you can appreciate the dark humor that helps lighten the load for those not as far along on their journey and help those who care about you. “Luckily, everyone with cancer is issued a Brave Sick Person face. “It comes with the wig.” Joni Rodgers was the mother of a five-year-old and seven-year-old when she was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 1994. She found... (Read More ...)

Why I Wore Lipstick to My Mastectomy At 27, in 1995, the lovely young producer on 20/20, Geralyn Lucas, was met with sad eyes when people found out she’d just been diagnosed with breast cancer.  Red Lipstick (Photo credit: Pink Sherbet Photography. Creative Commons) “Extensive intraductal carcinoma, poorly differentiated, clean margins, negative estrogen receptors, lobular.” “You’re so young.” “You’re so pretty.” “It’s such a shame.” Well, that was not helpful. So, she decided she needed to take control of her life. She put on lipstick and high heels and went to a strip... (Read More ...)

Happily Hungry. Seven years ago, when I began doing research on an unproven cancer treatment, it was an article of faith in the alternative cancer community that, to prevent recurrence, if you should be so fortunate as to go into remission, you must change your diet to healthy foods. Red Bell Pepper (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Healthy foods were defined as little meat, lots of fruits and vegetables, no processed foods, no sugar, and little white flour. By contrast, patients told me, their oncologists still had bowls of candy on their counters. Sugar, for those in the world of alternative cancer... (Read More ...)

Stealing Second Base. A Breast Cancer Survivor’s Experience A pair of Discrene brand masectomy breast forms with optional false nipples glued on (Photo credit: Wikipedia) At 5’2”, with 44D-sized breasts, Lillian Shockney, RN, was not prepared to read in her own pathology report, which she sneaked a look at while her doctor was out of town, “breast carcinoma.” Those not in the medical field might not know what that meant. Shockney, who goes by Lillie, is an oncology nurse, and she knew exactly what it meant. She had wept with a patient years before who begged her not to tell her her breast... (Read More ...)

Bridging the Divide: My Life, Senator Edward W. Brooke I bought Senator Edward W. Brooke’s book, Bridging the Divide: My Life, for his story about his survival from breast cancer. Edward W. Brooke, United States Senator from Massachusetts. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) I found an autobiography of an African American who lived through and shaped history. He was the first Republican to be elected Senator in Massachusetts. Click on interview with Brooke for a YouTube video of an interview with Brooke on his decision to run. He was the first African-American Senator to be elected to the Senate by popular... (Read More ...)

Saving Jack. “Can men get breast cancer?” Drawing of a breast duct containing ductal carcinoma in situ. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) That is the question Jack Willis, journalist and professor, asked his wife when he felt a lump in his breast, after casually brushing it in the shower. Though breast cancer is uncommon among men, it is possible. Willis had invasive ductal carcinoma. Willis’ doctor wrote in the Forword to the book, Saving Jack: A Man’s Struggle with Breast Cancer, that there would be an estimated 2,000 men that year with breast cancer, of whom 450 would be told it had spread. The... (Read More ...)

Pale Girl Speaks. Pale Girl Speaks: A Year Uncovered describes Hillary Fogelson’s diagnosis and first year with Stage I, Level 2 melanoma at the age of 25, more than ten years ago. Pale all her life, she was disciplined about annual checkups with a dermatologist. Her dermatologist spotted a mole that she decided needed to be biopsied, to check for melanoma. Melanomas generally are moles or spots that are: asymmetric or differently shaped on one side, instead of evenly round have uneven borders have uneven, patchy coloring are more than 1/4 inch around, the size of a pencil eraser change in... (Read More ...)

What Helped Get Me Through: Cancer Survivors Share Wisdom and Hope Dr. Julie K. Silver, diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 38, in 2003, is an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School. Cancer survivors park, New Orleans, LA (Photo credit: Loco Steve) A physiatrist, she specializes in physical rehabilitation for cancer patients. When a friend of hers was diagnosed with cancer and asked how she could help her family cope, Dr. Silver decided she needed to ask 5-, 10- and 20-year survivors how they and their families had coped. The result was a web site where she asked survivors: How... (Read More ...)

Healing with Words: A Writer’s Cancer Journey Diana Raab was puzzled when diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), an early form of breast cancer, in 2001. She was thin, exercised, ate healthy foods with little red meat or alcohol. And, there was no breast cancer, no cancer of any kind in her family. She writes of her mastectomy and reconstruction. She writes of her tattooed areola. And, she writes of the multiple myeloma diagnosis that came five years later. Risk Factors Though Jewish, and of Eastern European descent, Raab does not carry the genetic marker that would predispose her... (Read More ...)

Crazy, Sexy Cancer Survivor Open to any page in Kris Carr’s Crazy Sexy Cancer Survivor (2008) book and you will read funny, poignant, lyrical, practical advice about how to live with cancer. A close up of a fresh raw food dish (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Carr, an actress, portrait photographer, and filmmaker, had already written a best-selling survival guidebook, Crazy Sexy Cancer Tips (2007) and directed a companion documentary, Crazy Sexy Cancer (2007). By 2008, when Crazy Sexy Cancer Survivor was published, it was five years past her Valentine’s Day 2003 diagnosis. She was not cured, but she... (Read More ...)